I agree with The Register – The Napster To Go service will be a major flop.
With iTunes, I pay $0.99/song. When I have downloaded that song, I own it. I can put it on my iPod, my laptop, or burn it to a CD and play it on any CD player on the planet. If Apple goes bye-bye sometime in the future (perish the thought!) I can dump everything I bought via iTunes to a CD and still have access to my music.
With Napster, I could pay $15/month regardless of how many tracks I download (and given I download maybe a dozen in a month if even that much I’d end up paying more) and if I decide that Napster sucks, every track I “bought” with the subscription service goes bye-bye. No more music. My money just went down the drain – and I can’t burn any of that to CD.
Not only that, but the argument that iPod users would have to pay $10,000 to “fill” their iPods is disingenous in the extreme. Most iPod users (myself included) have many CDs they’ve bought over the years – and the contents of those CDs end up getting compressed into MP3s/AACs and uploaded onto the iPod. That’s why the iPod has such large storage capacity. It’s designed to take the large shelf of CDs and replace it with something that can fit in your hand.
The Napster service is yet another attempts to create an “iPod killer” — and like every attempt before or since, it misses the point entirely. If Apple had done the same thing, it would have been a flop as well. Napster doesn’t get the concept that “renting” music is not the same as owning it, and paying $15/month in virtual ransom fees to make sure the music you’ve “purchased” as part of the service is just a bad business model.